CMAS Presentation: Harvest of Loneliness
Wed, September 15, 2010 • 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM • Theatre (UNB 2.228), Texas Union, The University of Texas at Austin
Hidden within the historical accounts of minorities, workers and immigrants in American society is the story of the millions of Mexico’s men and women who experienced the temporary contract worker program known as the Bracero Program. Established to replace an alleged wartime labor shortage, research reveals that the Program intended to undermine farmworker unionization. Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program shows how several million men, in one of the largest state managed migrations in history, were imported from 1942 to 1964 to work as cheap, controlled and disposable workers. The documentary features the men speaking of their experiences and addresses what to expect from a new temporary contract worker program.
Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program also centers the voices of wives and families who were left behind as an untold number of villages were virtually emptied of men. Villages were forced to adjust as they supplied workers for the largest US agricultural corporations. As the villages emptied of men who left to be contracted (successfully or not), wives and families, not knowing if or when they would return or where they were going to work, were deeply distressed. Family separation became an ongoing periodic experience for many villages, and for many the separation became permanent. Many speak of wives/mothers crying at night, hiding their loneliness and sadness from their children. Over the 22 years of the Bracero Program the economy and living standards of the villages remained virtually unchanged.
Gilbert G. Gonzalez, one of the co-directors and professor emeritus in the School of Social Sciences at the University of California at Irvine, will be in attendance and participate in a Q&A session after the screening of Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program.